Pune, Nov 3 (IANS) Karnataka batsman Mayank Agarwal’s maiden First Class triple century was the lone highlight of the third day’s action of the Ranji Trophy round four as the tourists found them in a commanding position against Maharashtra here on Friday.
Agarwal, who was unbeaten on 219 on Thursday, notched up an unbeaten 304 off 494 balls that included 28 fours and four sixes to guide Karnataka to 628/5 declared at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here.
The 26-year-old Agarwal had put on 259 for the opening wicket with R Samarth (129) on the second day before joining forces with Karun Nair to add 279. Nair, who was not out on 56 overnight, struck a century of his own, finishing with 116.
Maharashtra, in reply, ended the day on 135/4 with Ruturaj Dasharath Gaikwad and Rahul Tripathi on the crease.
In another Group A fixure, Uttar Pradesh piled up 224 runs in their second innings at stumps after bowling Delhi out for 269.
With a crucial first innings lead in the bag, UP need to keep their composure and end up on the winning side eventually, unlike their first and third matches this season.
Akshdeep Nath, unbeaten on 110, and Rinku Singh (64) played two crucial knocks for their team after the first three wickets had fallen with just two runs on the board. Skipper Suresh Raina, though, failed yet again and fell for a personal score of 16.
In Group B, Saurashtra rode on India star Cheteshwar Pujara’s double century to score a mammoth 553 runs in their first innings before bowling out Jharkhand for 270.
Ishank Jaggi high scored with 114 runs and Ishan Kishan smashed a half-century (59), but none of their fellow batsmen held on to help the team avoid following on.
After being asked to follow-on, Jharkhand’s opener Md Nazim Siddiqui, with nothing to lose, started explosively and completed his half-century at a strike rate of over 150.
However, with only one day of the play left, it’s highly unlikely that Saurashtra will let this one slip away and will hope to bowl Jharkhand out as soon as possible.
In Group C, Mumbai had gained a healthy first innings lead against Odisha, thanks to Prithvi Shaw’s century and then a brilliant team effort to dismiss the hosts for 145.
Subsequently, in their second innings, Siddharth Lad’s century ensured Mumbai give Odisha a mammoth total of 413 to chase. Ajinkya Rahane, though, fell for a duck in the second innings.
In reply, Odisha had added 93 runs by the end of day’s play for the loss of four wickets. They still need 320 more runs on the final day to win the match.
In Group D, pacer Ashoke Dinda’s five-wicket haul helped hosts Bengal bundle Himachal Pradesh for 206 in their first innings in reply to Bengal’s 419.
In their second essay, HP are 207/2 at the end of the day’s play as the match looks to be heading for a tame draw.
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